SACRAMENTO (CBM) – TV One commentator and host Roland Martin challenged African American legislators and other officials to aspire to the goals, dreams, and ideals of civil rights icon Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during a speech last week in Sacramento.
Martin, a journalist, and the host of TV One’s NewsOne Now, asked attendees at the California Legislative Black Caucus’ (CLBC)’ annual breakfast ” Are We Satisfied? He said he was not satisfied where we are but encouraged attendees to reflect and recognize King’s birthday as a way to renew their commitment to what King fought for during his lifetime.
“When it comes to equality. When it comes to freedom. What are you satisfied with?” Martin asked. “Are you advocating for the very policies he stood for? Are you advocating for the very people he stood for?”
King, a champion for racial, social and economic equality organized boycotts, protests and marches, won a Nobel Peace Prize, spoke out against racism in the United States and delivered some of the most influential speeches in American history.
King’s 88th birthday was Jan. 15, a day before the national holiday named after him and held each year in remembrance of his legacy. The Atlanta-based Baptist minister, was gunned down by an assassin on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
The Golden State’s eleven-member CLBC’s breakfast took place on Jan. 12 at the Sacramento Convention Center. At the event, over 250 people honored King and celebrated individuals that have a commitment to work for the betterment of California’s African Americans and more.
Martin expounded with a self-proclaimed “spirit of discomfort” said he was not satisfied with the standing of African-Americans in America today.
“I’m not satisfied if you come asking for Black votes, but can’t hire Black companies,” said Martin alluding to the relationship between elected officials and African American businesses vying for state contracts. “I’m not satisfied when you come asking for Black votes, but can’t fund Black media.”
“I’m not satisfied when you say, ‘We’ll offer internships, but won’t hire full-time for critical positions,” the television personality continued. “In this particular state, where are your dollars being spent? Who are you actually supporting? I’m not interested in internships.”
Martin said King spoke about education, police brutality, voting rights, and economics; all issues that concern the African-American community today.
Martin said when it comes to educating Black youth he stands for success in the classroom.
“If it’s working for a child I’m with it 100 percent,” he said. “I would expect the Black Caucus in California – when you have constituents and children in some of the worst schools – to say, ‘I will provide an opportunity for you whatever it looks like.’ For some reason we are having a 1950s’ dialogue about education, but we are in 2017.”
Martin said African-Americans should not be satisfied with the progress in the U.S. as of now. He said King focused on what racial and social and economic challenges lay on the horizon. The renowned media figure challenged Black caucus members to do the same.
By McKenzie Jackson
California Black Media